Jo Daviess County, Illinois

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Jo Daviess is a county in Illinois. It was formed in 1827 from the following county/ies: Mercer/Henry/Putnam. Jo Daviess began keeping birth records in 1877, marriage records in 1830, and death records in 1877. It began keeping land records in 1828, probate records in 1828, and court records in 1827. For more information, contact the county at 330 N. Bench St., Galena 61036. On the attached map, Jo Daviess is located at A3.

For information about the state of Illinois see Illinois Family History Research.

Early Settlers of Jo Daviess County, IL

In the 1904 Biographical book published by local residents, several early settlers of the county are mentioned in passing. In 1904, the Galena River also known as the Fever River, was discovered by French trader Pierre Le Sueur. The book stated that he was known to have visited the lead mines long before any permanent settlement was made in the county. Lead mines were known to have existed prior to 1810 near the present city of Galena. They were worked by the Indians and the product was mainly used in making bullets. Traders and Trappers made regular visits to the mines near Galena prior to 1820. One person, John Lorrain, wrote during his lifetime, a short history of Jo Daviess County. In this he says that, "in 1820, one Jesse Shull and Samuel Muir opened a trading-post near the present site of the city of Galena, which was then called January's Point, and by this name was known to the early settlers. The supposition is that, prior to this time, one Thomas H. January, a Pennsylvanian, had a log smelting-furnace somewhere within the limits of Galena, but just where it was it is now impossible to ascertain." Julian Dubuque, person for whom the city of Dubuque, Iowa is named, also visited the mines of Galena prior to 1820. The first settlement in the county was made on the banks of the Galena River but the extact date is unknown. In a 1822 copy of the "Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri" an article talks of a small stream twenty miles below Dubuque's mine and about seventy above Rock River, which emptied into the Mississippi. The bank of this stream and the surrounding hills are filled with lead-ore of the best quality; that three miles below the mines is a trader's village, consisting of ten or twelve cabins, and that, at this point, the ore is smelted and sent by boats to New Orleans. In the years 1822 and '23, emigrants of a more permanent character began to flock to the mines. Among them were a Dr. Samuel C. Muir, Thomas H. January, Amos Farrar, Jesse W. Shull, Francois Barthillier, A. P. Van Matre, D. G. Bates, John Connell, John Ray, James Johnson and others. It is claimed that a Mrs. Adney was the first white woman who came to the mines and located in Galena. In 1824 Lieut. Martin Thomas was appointed Superintendent of the mines on the Upper Mississippi, and authorized to grant leases and permits to smelters and miners, and to farmers. provided they did not interfere with mining interests. It is claimed that the first white child born in Jo Daviess County was James Smith Hunt, who as born on the 9th day of October, 1824. (source: History of Jo Daviess 1904)

Jo Daviess County History and Genealogy Websites

Jo Daviess County GenWeb site:[1] Galena History Museum:[2] U.S. Grant Historic Sites:[3] Apple River Fort in Elizabeth, Illinois:[4]

Jo Daviess County Area Websites

Galena/Jo Daviess County Visitors Bureau: [5] Visit Galena: [6] Galena Gazette:[7]

The Counties and County Seats of Idaho

Counties of Illinois
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